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Spain boss Julen Lopetegui hope sport can unite country

by 06/10/2017 19:34:00 0 comments 1 Views
  • Spain overcame Albania 3-0 to confirm spot at next year's World Cup in Russia 
  • Julen Lopetegui believes now is time to focus on positivity sport can provide 
  • There are currently huge tensions in Spain following disputed referendum  
  • Lopetegui said: 'Sport can lead the way in how we should be as a country'

By Reuters Reporter

Published: 19:32 EDT, 6 October 2017 | Updated: 19:34 EDT, 6 October 2017

Spain boss Julen Lopetegui said now was the time to focus on positive things after his side qualified for the 2018 World Cup by beating Albania 3-0 following a week of political turmoil in the country.

Spain has been reeling from the fallout of Sunday's highly disputed referendum in Catalonia which produced images of police violence against would-be voters. 

The chaos has spilled onto the football pitch and the national team, with Gerard Pique being booed at training sessions throughout the week after voting in the banned referendum.

Julen Lopetegui believes Spain's football team's success can help heal the country's divisions 
Julen Lopetegui believes Spain's football team's success can help heal the country's divisions 

Julen Lopetegui believes Spain's football team's success can help heal the country's divisions 

Gerard Pique has been at the centre of the storm regarding the disputed referendum
Gerard Pique has been at the centre of the storm regarding the disputed referendum

Gerard Pique has been at the centre of the storm regarding the disputed referendum

The Barcelona defender received a mixture of support and boos from supporters in the game against Albania.

The political instability had little effect on the rest of the Spain side in Alicante, however, as they crushed their opponents with a terrific first half display characterised by short, slick passing moves and clinical finishing.

'Now is the time to focus on positive things, in football and in the country on the whole,' Lopetegui told reporters.

'Sport can lead the way in how we should be as a country and you have to celebrate the good things. We were jumping around and singing in the dressing room, celebrating a moment as you should.'

Spain overcame Albania 3-0 to book their place in next year's World Cup 
Spain overcame Albania 3-0 to book their place in next year's World Cup 

Spain overcame Albania 3-0 to book their place in next year's World Cup 

Rodrigo Moreno, Isco and Thiago Alcantara scored three goals in 11 minutes to set up a comprehensive win which was topped off with news from Rome that Italy had been held to a 1-1 draw by Macedonia, clinching Spain's spot in Russia as Group G winners.

'Many things have happened but we've taken it day by day, focusing on the best interests of the team,' added Lopetegui.

His side have won eight out of nine competitive games since succeeding Vicente del Bosque as coach in July 2016, scoring 35 goals while only conceding three.

'I've been lucky to have players that have shown so much commitment and their impeccable attitude has helped a lot. We are delighted and proud of what we have achieved because it's very important for Spain.'

Lopetegui thinks now is the time to concentrate on more positive things than politics 
Lopetegui thinks now is the time to concentrate on more positive things than politics 

Lopetegui thinks now is the time to concentrate on more positive things than politics 

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